“God’s Lullaby”, a worship poem from L.Willows (God’s Love, Grace, Home in God)

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Our pastor (Pastor Tom Holliday) said that “God speaks to us in a lullaby” meaning that He draws near to us with such abounding grace, forgiveness, and generous love that we almost can’t fathom it with our mortal hearts. After a tender sermon on John 3:16-21, my heart felt full. I feel the lullaby. I am aware that these are not easy days for many people, for many readers. We can be encouraged by listening for the hope that comes from Our Lord Jesus Christ. (August 08.2019)

God’s Lullaby

The lullaby comes near to us
softly, sweetly in life’s hush;
like a stream that runs at dawn
with waters new filled with His song.

Times can burden, trials restrict;
wandering through this haze conflicts.
Yet here we find the miracle of-
in the midst of all, God’s Love, God’s Love.

His Lullaby, in softness intones,
it whispers “Here; here is home.”
We wrap our hearts around, around
Within God’s song, our hearts rebound.

Take our burdens, lift our lives,
Draw us near into ancient hive
Lulled by Love in sweeping dive,
There we hope in sweet revive.

© 2019 Linda Willows

Matthew 11:26-29
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Isaiah 12:2
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

“True Contentment; the Long View of Heart”, from L.Willows (prayer, Eternal good, Abiding in Christ)

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A good friend brought up the subject of Contentment in a rich conversation yesterday. It gave me pause to dwell more deeply on how my own heart desires to experience feeling content with my present circumstances and rest in knowing that God is sovereign. That “all things are for my good” even if I do not presently understand the things and events that surround me in this world.

But if things are working together for good, and for his purpose- shouldn’t it also feel rather good? Or maybe not? Was Contentment ever implied in God’s goodness in scripture? I decided to explore the topic further.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

God works all things together for good for those that love him. This is arguably a most profound verse in Romans that can take a lifetime to dwell upon. For today, I am letting a part sink in. It is the appearance of how “all things” present themselves to each of us and how perspective affects it. From a perspective, as mortal beings- we attach feelings and subsequent states of being. They then cause us to live in what we call peace and contentment or it’s opposite – disruption and chaos.

These feelings and perspectives can be called ways of Viewing Life.

When we are in what I call the “short view”, or our mortal hearts we are attached to our feelings and needs. When we are in what I am calling “the Long View”, we are seeing from spiritual vision and are aware of True Needs. We are infused with Christ’s Spirit.

Continuing with the working of “all things”, when God works in this way, we need to realize that we are receiving his promise from a mortal perspective. When we have needs and expectations they become a filter that is placed in front of our eyes like a lens. We are not able to view our true needs or even our present circumstances in the same way that God can. But we do feel them and experience them vividly. We desire to be free of conflict. We long for Contentment. We seek some kind of end to the lack of peace in our hearts.

What is True Contentment? Is it a view? A thing? A secret? An ability?

I realized that I needed to re-define Contentment. We seem to connect being content with a sense of pleasure and satisfaction but actually the biblical meaning from the Greek word “autárkeia” is (from  /autós, “self” and /arkéō, “to suffice, be sufficient”) – properly, self-sufficient; used of the Spirit-filled Christian – having all they need within through the indwelling Christ.

Phillippians 4:11-12
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

We learn from this that contentment is a learned ability, not one that we are born with. Paul speaks of receiving his strength in Christ, that Christ was the source of all of his contentment. In his life he had known what it was like to have much and also to have nothing, to suffer greatly, to face the direst circumstances. He could be abased, humiliated and worse yet he remained content. His steadiness was not, as he often proclaimed from a strength of his own, it was from relying on Christ.

John 15:5
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

When we abide in Christ, our lives bear fruit (the evidence of the Presence of His Living Spirit) for without him we can do no thing.  We are filled by him, sufficient in the strength of the Christ indwelling.

True Contentment is Sufficiency through the Indwelling Christ.

That is a different Contentment! All I need is sufficiency through the indwelling Christ. Contentment is peace through his Spirit, it is being Spirit-filled rather than world-filled. My source of sufficiency and ‘good things’ needs to come from Christ. What are the good things that I need? Well, that is a big shift in the heart.

Sufficiency in Christ is different than a feeling, it is a state of being Spirit-Filled.

Our hearts usually expect good things to come from this world. We gather our sufficiency from things that fill us up. When they fail us, we lose the sense of feeling content. Our peace is disturbed. Our needs have not been met. Here is a partial list of some of what our mortal hearts expect, our natural needs. We are born wanting and desiring to be filled up by this world. It is in our nature.

We can make a shift in the way we look at filling our Needs-

  • Fill me up with your love of me.
  • Fill me up with your approval of me.
  • Fill me up with worldly substitutes for security and belonging.
  • Fill me up with worldly substitutes for feeling protected.

But God has promised us something more.

Psalm 145: 19
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.

Psalm 40:8
I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

We request “All Things” through God’s Sovereign Will.

Because we are simply mortal, we usually request all these things without consulting God’s Sovereign will. We forget that there may be a “longer view” in place in our lives that only can be seen from the perspective of God’s Heart. Imagine a triangle. At the apex is God’s eye, his view. From the base point, A to B is your own journey in this life moving horizontally. We tend to see only the horizon from the baseline perspective of the triangle. Naturally, we ask from that perspective as well. Yes, even after being soaked in scripture we forget. We become immersed in what is happening in what just happened this week or yesterday. Our good intentions get swept away by a tidal wave of surprises. Life is filled with ‘good starts’.

We need to constantly get back to the High View, The Long View; to God’s Word and to place our hearts into his sovereignty even though they already are! We need to join fully into it! He is beside us, has been the whole while; loving with great mercy and tenderness. It is only our own hearts and minds that temporarily turned away. When we turn back, it is a wonderful reunion filled with tender sweetness and delight. All of the promises are there and true. For those who love God, all things work together for good!

The Eternal Good is given with His constant Presence, He is with us.

In his infinite mercy and goodness, God sees all of our hearts– both the present needs which include all of the above and the True Need- which is the Long View, the Far View of our Eternal God. Our requests are seen and answered but done with a spiritual perspective that envisions The Eternal.

© 2019 Linda Willows

The Long View, in the Sight of You- The Eternal

Father,

Help me to gain by the power of Your Spirit, The Long View, to the highest view which is in the sight of You.
A glimpse into your sovereign will for my heart, my life and a daily, hourly plan that pleases you.
Help me to let go of lesser needs that bind me,
Give me strength and help me to overcome my lesser views and perspectives
So that I see you, honor you, cherish you, choose you and value what you love
in this world and in the next.
Oh Father, pull forward from my heart what you would love to call to act on your behalf.
Make known in my life the path that calls out the truth and brings your will into being.
Let the contentment of peace of your love reign in my heart throughout the day and night.
Bring your joy into me because you love me as your own. 
Place me secured with you, beside you with a clear vision of The Eternal and set the eyes of my heart upon you in this hour and every next!
Thank you, that as your Beloved, your peace lives in my heart now and forever wherever I am.

In Jesus Name,
Amen

“My Neighbor’s Hand”, from L.Willows (Mercy, Loving One Another, Blessing)

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My Neighbor’s Hand, by L.Willows

Yesterday I broke a rule. It was a beautiful day and I was eager to take a walk in the morning so I was “suited up” with my mask, sunglasses, sunscreen, tissues for my hands as I would need to handle some door-nobs and the elevator buttons in my apartment building to exit and a sun hat for protection when I walked. I had ear-plugs so that I could listen to scripture on my iPhone as I paced through God’s beauty in a nearby garden park. I was set to go and covered with protection.

But life is full of the unexpected. As I locked my door and glanced down the hall I saw my neighbor that I had not seen in many months. She is an Ethiopian woman in her nineties that I have revered and deeply loved. She is my friend. Since the beginning of the Pandemic, I have not been able to visit with her. Her Caretaker told me that her sons and family stopped visiting at the same time so she has been alone- something which never happened before COVID. I remember that her home was full day and night “before”, filled with the aroma of Ethiopian cooking and the chatter of her visitors.

There she was in the distance in her cotton whites that fell upon the ground as she slowly struggled to walk in the hall with her Caretaker. She looked fragile. I waved and she waved back. My heart was drawn to go to greet her. Most of her petite face was hidden beneath her mask. It was a sweet reunion. Her large eyes were shining. I took off my prescription sunglasses. We were probably both blurry eyed. Her vision was most likely better than mine.

“Oh Sweet One. I have missed you. Are you well?” I asked? She looked directly into me with concern and said, “Yes. Yes. Well, but I am feeling very weak. I have not seen you. I walked by your apartment but did not see you. I was worried about you. We don’t see you. So much time…” I told her that I was home all the while, the same as she was, just staying safe inside of my apartment and that I was fine, very good!

Then, I said, “I love you. I miss you.” My heart was overwhelmed by her loveliness. I told her that she is like part of my family to me, that my own family is far away, some parts of it very distant for a long time. Here she was, sweet and kind, steps away and separated from the ones that she loves. I knew that no one had hugged or greeted her with love for a very long time. That was when I broke the rule.

I put my hand upon hers. It was the first time that I touched a person’s hand since isolating in the Pandemic. (the Rule-breaker alarm went off in my head) I said to her, “Is this alright? Is it alright that I touch your hand?” I knew that I was breaching the “code”.  She looked at me knowingly. Then she placed her other hand on top of mine and cupped mine as if in a blessing.

The breach became Blessed. In that moment, I knew that love was stronger than anything in this world. Is the Love Code larger? When? How? Why? I did not intend to break the laws of man or to disobey safety. The moment seemed to be pointing to a deeper truth.

When we reach in the Name of Love, in the Motive of Love, namely because the Love of Christ is our cause- then our steps become Blessed, wherever they lead. There is no breach, no break because we walk under the Law of God not the law of man. We are sons and daughters of His Covenant. God covers us with His Protection though His Promises.

I did not “think” in the moment.  It only felt full, lasting with Love and sent to me by God’s Spirit. The memory is vivid to recall. I pray protection for my dear friend and for us all. As I walked afterward, I prayed in all of God’s beauty for my precious family, my spiritual family, my community, the suffering everywhere and for our wisdom and discernment as we walk forward with our neighbors- whoever and wherever in the world they are. Lord, bring us together as Your Own and give us hearts that do not know separation.

© 2020 Linda Willows